Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lessons learned

Jove and I have been planting our garden and I have been enjoying it more this year than ever before. Jove has a plot of his own and he has been planting every seed he can get his hands on, even an avocado pit and garbanzo beans, neither of which are supposed to grow here, but we'll see what happens. Everyday we check on our sprouts, weed and water.

In the past I have planted mainly seedlings and this year we planted seeds, except for tomatoes, arugula and parsley. We have basil, beans, sweet peas, carrots, cilantro and a bunch of flower seedlings coming up and I have been humbled by my little seedlings.
Most of the heirloom pole beans we planted didn't come up, only three out of probably 15 seeds. I figured out that I poked the holes too deep and the seedlings died before they could poke through and get sunlight. As we were preparing the soil to plant some more I found one that was trying to emerge, almost dead, and I saved it (evangelical gardening!!). We have planted more and we hope our Jack and the Beanstalk section of the garden comes through for us.

The carrot seedlings look a lot like grass seedlings which are one of our predominant weeds. I couldn't remember where we had planted the carrots and one day I spent a LONG time weeding Jove's basil section, unknowingly, so that only the grass was left. A couple of days later, when his real carrot seedlings appeared on the other side of the garden I realized my mistake and had a huge chuckle. I am sure the grass appreciated being treated as a wanted plant for a day. Then I thought, "did I pull out all of the basil seedlings thinking they didn't look like the grass?" My gardening guardian angel appears to be working overtime and the basil has survived my crazy weeding.

All of this made me realize that two things are important when you are gardening from seed: follow the instructions on the seed packet (duh!) and use markers when you plant so you will remember where you planted everything. Today we put our markers in. I wrote the name on a small piece of white paper and we covered it with packing tape and attached a popsicle stick. Jove stuck them in and I was impressed with him knowing what everything was.

We have a garden journal for Jove with a map of his garden and we taped in samples of all of his seeds. As stuff grows more and we harvest I hope to include drawings, his commentary and some photos. We have been reading some inspiring books for little gardeners:

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss (illustrated by Crockett Johnson of Harold and the Purple Crayon fame)
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Elhert
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

One of the things that I love about the garden right now is the baby cilantro. Cilantro has these feathery, wide leaves and I wasn't sure how big the plant would get before it would throw out its characteristic leaves and I was thrilled when the second set of leaves came out in true cilantro fashion. We get down close to the plants and I feel like I am in a miniature cilantro forest.

The other thing I love about the garden right now is our small strawberry patch. We have a lot of little green strawberries out there and I will be so excited when they get ripe. Jove wanted to plant blueberries and I promised him one day when we have more land we will.

1 comment:

Nanimal said...

ooooh, how fun!!!! we planted our seeds inlittle pots this year and will have to transfer... we have to till the ground (or rather, dig) still...